Londonderry: New family justice centre approved by planners

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Domestic violence graphicImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The new centre will be housed in a derelict site on Londonderry's Bishop Street

Derry City and Strabane District Council have approved plans for a new domestic violence support centre.

The One Safe Place centre will be based at Londonderry's Bishop Street and run by domestic and sexual violence charity Foyle Women's Aid (FWA).

FWA say it will bring a number of key agencies and services together in a more accessible way for victims.

Director Marie Brown said she was delighted planners had given the centre the green light.

She said the centre would make a "huge difference".

"We believe this is something that will set standards in Northern Ireland.

"Someone will be able to come in and get every service under one roof on the same day. They will get a support plan, see who they need to, and get a follow up plan."

Mrs Brown said often people's journey is made more complex because of the range of agencies and services they need to access.

"People will feel they have achieved in one day what they need to move on," she added.

The centre will consist of a reception, offices, family rooms, housing units and a public drop-in centre cafe.

It will include a family room space with a covered open space for children, along with nine apartments.

On Wednesday, councillors approved an application to demolish the former Poundstretcher building on Bishop Street, subject to a number of conditions, to allow for the centre's construction.

Mrs Brown said she hoped work would begin on the centre in the coming weeks, and be completed in around 18 months time.

'Much needed facility'

The chairman of the council's planning committee, Sinn Féin Councillor Christopher Jackson, said the new centre would "allow a wide range of co-ordinated services to operate under one roof".

He added: It will "greatly assist the level of support provided to domestic violence victims and their families".

Cllr Jackson said he was delighted that a derelict site at Bishop Street would be regenerated into a new and much needed facility for the local community.